The city of London is made up of 32 distinct boroughs, meaning it’s not only massive, it’s full of history and adventure–and certainly has a way of finding a spot on most travelers bucket lists’. However, since London covers a sizable area, there are an abundance of hotels to choose from and this can cause some uncertainty for anyone looking to visit for the first time. Unless you’re a seasoned London veteran I would recommend picking an area you’re interested in and making this your home base for the trip. Then search based on your budget and use the tube to get around and see more of the city.
The main entrance to the London Marriott County Hall
We did this exact process and decided since it would be our first time in London we wanted to stay in a touristy area. We picked the London Marriott Hotel County Hall, which is in the Old County Hall building along the River Thames. The entrance to the hotel is in a small courtyard area, pictured above, and is accessed through archways along Westminster Bridge Road.
The hotel at night reminded us of a postcard
We were really drawn in by the location, being right along Westminster Bridge Road we had a view of Big Ben and Westminster Abbey from across the river and the London Eye literally right at our doorstep. Then as an added perk the hotel looked beautiful at night, lit up next to a glowing London Eye.
The London Marriott County Hall is a category 9 property, meaning it will run you 45,000 points a night. But don’t forget, Marriott offers the 5th night free perk on rewards redemptions making it 180,000 points for 5 nights–or a slightly better 36,000 points a night. Personally, I prefer to redeem Marriott points in sets of 5 nights whenever possible since it offers the best bang for the point. But enough of that and on to the rest of our stay.
Upon arriving to the hotel we were greeted by two welcoming doormen, who opened the door and offered to help us with our bags. We politely declined and went up a small set of stairs to enter the lobby before being directed towards the front desk.
Noes Lobby Champagne Bar at the London Marriott County Hall
I have to say, our first impression of the hotel was very positive. The staff seemed extremely friendly and the lobby had the perfect touch of old, elegantly blended with new. Pictured above is the Noes Champagne Bar–the very first room you see upon entering the front door of this London hotel.
The woodwork at the front desk was beautiful
Further down the hallway to the left is where you’ll find the check-in desk. Since we were the only people arriving at the time they quickly checked us in while giving an overview of the hotel and nearby areas of interest. As Marriott Rewards Platinum members they also gave us a list of options to choose our welcome gift–after a slight discussion we decided on the half bottle of wine and assortment of finger snacks–which they conveniently delivered to the room at a time we were able to specify.
The check-in area also had a few chairs, a couch, and a fireplace across from the front desk, all of which is pictured above. I think they did an excellent job of making the area modern without losing the character that makes it the former London County Hall building.
The hotel also has three elevators, all of which have the similar woodwork that can be found throughout the rest of the lobby. We didn’t have any issues with the elevators during our stay and the wait times were usually very minimal.
The bar area at Gillray’s Steakhouse & Bar
Also found in the lobby is Gillray’s Steakhouse & Bar and the Library Lounge. The majority of the tables at the steakhouse have a view out towards the River Thames. We never actually ate at Gillray’s but we did stop in for drinks one night and found them to be a little more on the expensive side, even for London. We did, however, really enjoy our time in the Library Lounge since this is where we had our afternoon tea. More to come on that experience later since we’ll cover it in a later post.
The Deluxe King Room
When we booked this room the website noted that the hotel had been recently renovated. Our first impression came in the hallway and everything looked great–sturdy doors, opulent finishings, framed pictures, and tasteful lighting lined the hallway on the way to the room.
One section of the seemingly never-ending hallway we took to reach our room
But to be totally honest, as nicely finished as the hallway was, it was extremely long. Not exaggerating at all–it was the longest hallway I have ever walked to get to my room in a hotel. Personally, I didn’t find it to be a deal breaker, but I wanted to make a major note of it because I know some people really don’t like when their room is far from the elevator. If you are one of those people then I highly suggest adding a note in your reservation and requesting a room nearby the elevators.
Extremely comfortable bed for resting up and exploring London
The room itself wasn’t overly large, but it was very tastefully decorated and had plenty of room for 2 people. The bed had a nightstand on one side, a small end table on the other, and was very comfortable–giving a choice of a softer or harder pillow.
The television had the Spotify app so you could login to listen in the room
The corner of the room had a chair with a table that could be used as either a desk or for room service. However, it would probably be most convenient for anyone visiting on business, so we didn’t give it much use–other than for pouring our arrival gift 🙂
We had a partial view of the London Eye from our room!
The window was a decent size and, if you wanted it to, let in a lot of natural light. There was also a blind that could be pulled down from the top, or the curtains could be closed completely if you are big on blackout curtains while sleeping. One of our favorite parts of the window was looking out in the evening and people watching before dinner as everyone stood in the long line to ride the Eye. After watching this we were certainly glad we had already reserved our London Eye experience!
Given the size of the actual room, the bathroom was huge! There was a walk-in shower with a glass partition and waterfall shower head. The water pressure was excellent and the shower had a handheld option for anyone who prefers that. The sink area afforded room on both sides and the multiple lighting effects even gave a quasi nightlight option.
The wallpaper in the bathroom is a detailed map of London!
As you might be able to notice in the pictures of the bathroom above the wallpaper looks to have some rather ornate detail. Now I wouldn’t normally take a picture of wallpaper and post it online but I thought the attention to detail with a map of London was so cool that it should be pointed out.
The hotel is full of amenities, such as wi-fi, a gym, indoor pool, locker rooms, and a sauna. All Marriott hotels offer free wi-fi to anyone who is a Marriott Rewards member so be sure to sign up before your trip–Gold and Platinum members get enhanced wi-fi speeds for free with their status.
I was rather impressed with the gym setup, especially given the fact that it was a hotel in the middle of the city of London. The workout area was absolutely massive and you would be hard pressed not to be able to get a great workout in. They had rows of cardio equipment on one side with weights on the other, along with what could be described as a grand staircase leading up to the workout facilities. The gym also had men’s and women’s locker rooms with showers and a sauna. And the lockers can be used to lock up your belongings with the keys they provide, which is exactly what I did when I used the pool to swim laps. However, I did find it a little weird how I had to walk back into the hallway to cross over to the pool. Overall, the wi-fi worked great for the entire stay and the workout facilities were excellent–perfect for staying in shape during your stay.
The M Club Lounge
Being a Marriott Rewards Platinum member gave us access to the M Club Lounge at this hotel. Additionally, anyone who is a Gold member or staying in their Executive Big Ben rooms or Suites would also be given lounge access. They served an assortment of items in the lounge throughout different times of the day, which we will get into below. But the lounge was open from 6 a.m. to 12 a.m. everyday with the option to swipe in with your room key to grab snacks or non-alcoholic beverages.
Breakfast spread at the M Club Lounge
We had breakfast every morning in the lounge since it was complimentary for anyone with access. It was a buffet spread with choices such as egg frittata, sausage, bagels, fruit, toast, and danishes. To drink they had a choice of coffee, tea, juice, or water. This selection was out in the lounge everyday from 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Typical breakfast during our mornings in London
The food wasn’t anything extraordinary but I certainly don’t have anything bad to say about it. Everything they served seemed to be very quality and my only suggestion would’ve been to add a couple more hot options for people to choose from. But I will say, the danish was quite tasty–I may or may not have had more than one every morning, but that’s what vacations are for, right?
Excellent view of Big Ben from the M Club Lounge
What I would say ended up becoming our highlight of breakfast was the view. Every morning we were lucky enough to sit at the table for two in front of the large window overlooking the River Thames and Big Ben. Everyone in the lounge can take in this view but both tables in front of the window are only set up for two people, so if you are a larger group then you’ll have to choose one of the other tables around the lounge.
Example of our selection of lite-bites one evening in the lounge
Our favorite part of the lounge came around every evening. They had what was called ‘lite-bites’ from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and this included an assortment of complimentary alcoholic beverages such as beer and wine. It looked like premium spirits came at a price, but we didn’t order any. The lite-bites ended up being quite delicious and they were big enough that if you had a large lunch they could do the job of filling you up for the evening. However, we normally stopped in before heading off to dinner. And we certainly enjoyed the complimentary drinks in the lounge during this time–the attendants were excellent and after the second day remembered our preferred drink of choice in the evening.
Couches in the corner were an excellent spot for enjoying lite-bites
The lounge was a decent size and never felt overcrowded during our stay. Our favorite spot was in the corner on the L-couches. We usually spent around 30 minutes here on the evenings we went and actually ended up meeting some nice people and discussing the places we had visited so far during our stay.
Fridge in the lounge containing a selection of complimentary beverages
As we mentioned before the lounge is open from 6 am to 12 am with a selection of beverages available in the fridge shown above. The fridge is right by the front entrance so it is pretty easy to stop in and grab a bottle of water or soda. Overall the lounge setup was fantastic and made for a great addition to our stay.
- Fantastic location near London Eye with views of Big Ben and Westminster Abbey
- Excellent workout facilities for staying in shape while on vacation
- Recently updated hotel with tasteful decorations
- Great perks in the M Club Lounge for Elite Status Members
- Some of the rooms can have a very long walk from the elevators
- While it’s a great touristy location, the area around the hotel can get extremely busy
- Can be expensive depending on time of year and has the highest Marriott Category for points redemptions
Would we stay here again? Absolutely. Will we stay here our very next time in London? Possibly. But that is only because we focused a lot of our exploring to the areas around the hotel this time and would want to explore a new area of London on our next visit. London is simply too big to see everything in 5 nights, but the time we spent here was fabulous. The room was great, the bed was comfortable, the service was top-notch, and the M Lounge was some next level stuff. And the ability to have afternoon tea in the lobby with a view of Big Ben in the background was perfect. We really enjoyed our stay here and would have no problem recommending this place to anyone planning a trip to London, especially if you want to have the London Eye, Big Ben, and Westminster Abbey right at your doorstep. If anyone has stayed here recently we would love to hear if your experience was similar to ours. Or if you simply have questions about an upcoming stay we’re more than happy to try and answer them!